70. RECORDS OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL

(A) Petition and Judgment (1401)

To the most wise council of our lord the king his poor chaplain, Nicholas Hogonona of the land of Ireland, humbly prays [as follows]: —

Since, by reason of certain vows that he had made, he recently decided to go on a pilgrimage to the court of Rome, he so came into England; and when he had come to Oxford, he took as companion an Austin friar, to whom he gave 40d. and expenses to conduct him to London; and he also delivered to the said friar 40d. to keep [for him]. And when they had come to London, the said poor chaplain asked for the delivery of his said money, and would have sued for his writ of passage;[1] but in the meantime the said friar went to certain people of London and made a false allegation, stating that he was a "wild Irishman"[2] and an enemy to our said lord the king — and this with the intent of having his said money and his book called a porthous,[3] which is still retained [by the said friar], together with part of his money. On account of which statement he was taken and committed to prison, and is there detained in great duress, trouble, and discomfort, although he is a loyal man and a supporter of our said lord the king, as he can well prove if he may come to answer [for himself]. [Accordingly] may it please the said most wise council to grant and command that the said poor chaplain may come before you to give answer to all that any one shall wish to charge against him; and afterwards [may it please you] to ordain concerning his liberation as in your wise discretion may seem demanded by reason and good faith, for the sake of God and as a work of charity.

[Endorsed:] August 25 of the second year, etc. It was agreed by the council — attended by my lords the chancellor, the bishops of Durham, Hereford, and Bangor, the earl of Northumberland, the treasurer, and Master John Prophet — that a writ should be issued to the sheriffs of London for the release from prison of the petitioner in the record, if he is therein detained for the cause here stated and for no other.

(French) Leadam and Baldwin, Select Cases before the Council, pp. 85 f.

(B) Minutes of December 8, 1406[4]

On December 8 of the eighth year, etc., in the afternoon, assembled in council at Westminster my lord the honorable Prince [Henry] and my lords the archbishop of Canterbury, the bishop of Durham, chancellor, the duke of York, and the earl of Somerset; also the treasurer, and the steward, chamberlain, and treasurer of the household — where they had certain ordinances drawn up.

And in the first place, with regard to the good government of our lord the king's household, it seemed to the council most expedient that good and loyal officers should be placed and ordained in the said household; and especially that there should be a good comptroller, and for that [office] were named Sir Thomas Bromflete and Sir Arnold Savage, one of whom, if it pleased the king, should be comptroller. And since the said council lacked advice for the nomination of other fit persons to be appointed to other offices in the said household according as there might be need for them, the said steward and treasurer were requested to advise them of such fit persons, whose names could be presented to our said lord the king and his said council.

Item, [it was decided] that provision should be made of a certain sum appropriate for the expenses of the said household against the approaching feast of Christmas.

Item, it seemed necessary that, after the said feast, the king should be pleased to withdraw to some convenient place where, by the advice and deliberation of himself and his council and his officials, such moderate government could be ordained for the said household as should henceforth continue to the pleasure of God and of the people.

(French) Nicolas, Proceedings of the Privy Council, I, 295 f.

(C) Minutes of August 18, 1409

Matters to be considered by the council: First, regarding the response to be given to the messages from Prussia.[5]

Item, regarding the conference to be held with the king of Castile and the sending of commissioners and deputies on the part of our lord the king to the said conference; also the estates of the great commissioners, etc. — that is to say, a bishop, a baron, a knight, and a clerk, if it please the king.

Item, regarding the land of Ireland.

Item, regarding my lord John, son of the king, and the state of the east march against Scotland.

Item, regarding the truces lately established between our lord the king and the Scots.

Item, regarding the regions of Guienne.

Item, regarding the steward of Guienne.

Item, regarding the dispute between the said steward and the man of La Motte.

Item, regarding Master John Bordin in connection with his office as lieutenant of the constable of Bordeaux and as chancellor of the regions of Guienne.

Item, regarding the Sire de Barde, whose petition has been granted by the advice of the council.

Item, regarding William Brewer, captain of Trawe Castle.

Item, regarding the finding of proper security by the Scot, Richard Maughlyn, who desires to be English; to whom the king has granted for this purpose 20m. a year, to be taken from the issues of the county of York, in case he will agree to it.

Item, regarding charters of pardon for murder.

(French) Ibid., I, 319 f

(D) Memorandum of May 6, 1421[6]

Sum of all the custom, subsidy, and revenue aforesaid, 55,743. 10s.

10d.; out of which [the following expenditures must be made] for annual upkeep, to wit: —

For guarding the kingdom of England, annually 8000m.

Item, for Calais and the march of the same in wartime, 19,119. 5s. 10d.

Item, for guarding the east march and the west march of Scotland, together with Roxburgh Castle in wartime, 19,500.

Item, for guarding the land of Ireland, 2500m.

Item, for guarding Fronsac Castle, 1000m.

Item, for the fees of the treasurer, the keeper of the privy seal, the justices of both benches, the barons of the exchequer, and other officials of the king's court, 3002. 17s. 6d.

Item, to the collectors and comptrollers of the king's customs and subsidies in the various ports of England, for their annual rewards enjoyed by virtue of their offices and received at the exchequer, 547.

Item, to divers dukes, earls, knights, and squires, to the abbess of Shene, and to divers other persons for their annuities enjoyed yearly and received at the exchequer, 772. 12s. 7d.

Item, to divers persons for their annuities yearly enjoyed from divers customs in the various ports of England, 4374. 4s. 30d.

Item, for the fees of the collectors and comptrollers of customs in the various ports of England yearly allocated to them at the exchequer on account of their offices, 274. 3s. 4d. Sum of the total annual obligation, 52,235. 16s. 10d. And so the sum of the aforesaid income exceeds the aforesaid obligation [by]3700. 13s. 11d. From which amount provision must be made [for the following needs] to wit: —

For the chamber of the king and the queen.

Item, for the household of the king and the queen.

Item, for the wardrobe of the king and the queen.

Item, for the king's works.

Item, for the construction of a new tower at Portsmouth.

Item, for the office of clerk of the king's ships.

Item, for keeping the king's lions and the fee of the constable of the Tower of London.

Item, for artillery and divers other matters ordained for the king's wars.

Item, for the custody and support of the king's prisoners. Item, for the king's embassies. Item, for divers messengers, parchments, and other expenses and necessities.

Item, for the expenses of the duchess of Holland. And no provision has as yet been made [for the following matters], to wit: —

For the old debts of the city of Harfleur. Item, for the old debts of the city of Calais. Item, for the old debts of the king's wardrobe. Item, for the old debts of the king's household. Item, for the old debts pertaining to the office of clerk of the king's ships. Item, for the old debts pertaining to the office of clerk of the king's works.

Item, for arrears of annual fees. Item, for executing the will of King Henry IV with regard to the debts of the same king. Item, for the debts of the king while he was prince.

(French) Ibid., II, 312 f.

(E) Minutes, March to June, 1422

On March 9 in the ninth year, it was advised and agreed by the council that the keeper of the king's great wardrobe[7] should provide for the clothing of all those crossing with the lady queen to the king in the parts of France....

Memorandum that, on March 1 in the ninth year of our sovereign lord Henry V after the Conquest, Ralph, son of Nicholas of Langford, knight, set forth to the lords of the council of our said lord the king how Margaret of Langford ... , mother of the said Ralph, had, as well by indenture as otherwise, given and delivered to the prior of Gisburn divers things, goods, and jewels to keep for the use and profit of the said Ralph; which prior was unwilling to deliver the said things, goods, and jewels to the said Ralph, according to his allegation; wherefore he prayed the said lords for remedy.[8] ...

On March 30 in the tenth year,[9] it was agreed by the council that the persons designated below should have, in the name of reward for their crossing to France with the lady queen, the following sums: namely, Lady Margaret of Roos, 100m.; Elizabeth Fitz-Hugh, 20; Catherine Chideok, 40m. And on the same day 10 were also granted to Friar Walden, newly elected confessor, for his crossing to the king.

On May 6 in the tenth year, the lord of Willoughby, [appearing] in person before the lords of the council at Westminster, promised that, by indenture between the king and himself, he would retain for a year's service thirty men-at-arms with the usual quota of archers, that is to say, three to the lance....

On the same day Robert Scot, esquire, undertook to be lieutenant keeper of the Tower of London and of all the prisoners therein contained, for the faithful performance of which [duty] he was personally sworn on holy things at Westminster, and the aforesaid custody was straitly committed to him....

On May 16, in the presence of the lords at Westminster, certain dies (ferra) for making the king's coinage in his town of Calais were delivered to a certain William Latchford, servant of Richard Buckland, the treasurer of Calais: namely, one die for the gold noble, another for the half-noble, and another for the gold farthing, as well as a die for coining the silver groat, another for the half-groat, another for the penny, another for the halfpenny, and another for the silver farthing — [placed] in divers sealed bags, which in the same place the same [William] promised to convey with all possible haste to the said town of Calais.

On May 17 it was agreed by the lords that the seigneur de Gaucourt should be transferred to Pontefract Castle ... in the custody of Robert of Waterton, esquire.

Item, on the same day it was ordained that John Mortimer, knight, should be committed to the king's castle of Pevensey in the custody of John Pelham, knight....

On May 25, in the presence of the lord [duke] of Gloucester and the other lords at Westminster, John, bishop of Hereford, took the oath of fealty that he owed to the king....

On May 28 in the tenth year, in the case [pending] before the lords between John Middlemore, plaintiff, and Richard Clodeshalle, defendant, concerning the manor of Edgebaston with its appurtenances in the county of Warwick ... , the aforesaid parties were dismissed by the lords to prosecute [their case] at common law if they saw fit.[10]

On the same day the case between the mayor and community of the city of York, plaintiffs, and the lord archbishop of York, defendant, was continued in statu quo until the quinzime of Michaelmas next....

On June 29, in the aforesaid year, it seemed to all the lords, being individually examined and making individual responses with regard to the fine that should be paid to the king by Lady Clarence for the demesne of Holderness, once belonging to the lord duke of Clarence, her husband, that one year's income from the said demesne would be sufficient as fine therefrom to be paid by the said Lady Clarence.

On June 30 William Wynart presented before the lords an indenture with an attached schedule, containing the names of the king's prisoners taken in the market of Meaux in France and sent by the king ... to England for safekeeping there — who, according to what is stated in the said indenture ... , are to the number of 151....

(Latin and French) Ibid., II, 328-35.

(F) Minutes of November 12. 1437

November 12 in the sixteenth year, etc., in the presence of the king at the hospital of St. John near Clerkenwell, [the following persons] being in attendance: the lord duke of Gloucester, the lord cardinal [Beaufort], the archbishop of York; the bishops of London, Lincoln, Salisbury, Norwich, and Worcester; the earls of Huntingdon, Stafford, Northumberland, Salisbury, and Suffolk; the lords of Hungerford, Tiptoft, and Fanhope; the chancellor, the treasurer, the keeper of the privy seal, and William Philip, knight.

[It is agreed that] they who were of the council before are to be of the council now; [and that the following men are] also to be of the council: the bishop of St. David's, the earl of Salisbury, the keeper of the wardrobe, Sir John Stourton. And the king wills that the present councillors of the king are to have such power as King Henry IV gave to his councillors, according to a schedule passed in parliament during the time of the same king, which [schedule] was read there [in the council]....[11]

The keeper of the privy seal and others have sworn and given their faith to the king, to counsel him well and truly in such matters as shall come before them by way of the king's council, to keep secret the king's counsel, and in short to counsel and do all that good councillors should counsel and do for the king their sovereign lord....[12]

(French and English) Ibid., V, 71 f.

(G) Judgment in the Star Chamber[13] (1482)

In the Star Chamber at Westminster, on May 2 in the twenty-second year of the reign of our sovereign lord King Edward IV — being present my lords the archbishop of York, chancellor of England; the bishops of Lincoln, [lord] privy seal, and of Worcester, Norwich, Durham, and Llandaff; the earl Rivers; the lords Dudley, Ferrers, and Beauchamp; Sirs Thomas Burgh, William Parr, Thomas Vaughan, and Thomas Grey, knights — the judgment and decree earlier rendered by the lords of our said sovereign lord's council for the cause of Richard Whele, otherwise called Richard Pierson ... against John Fortescue, esquire, ... was openly read in full and plenary council.... The said John Fortescue alleges and says that the said Richard is a Scot born and is under allegiance to the king of Scots, and as such [the said John] has taken him and holds him prisoner. The said Richard [denies this], evidently proving the contrary, that he is an Englishman born and no Scot....[14] And after each of the said parties ... had at divers times been diligently heard in all that they could or would allege and say in their behalf, it appeared to the lords of the said council that the said Richard Whele, otherwise called Pierson, is and was an Englishman born and no Scot.... And therefore it is considered, adjudged, and decreed by the same lords that the same Richard is so to be held, taken, and reputed among all the king's liege people and subjects; he is to be regarded and treated in all places as the king's liegeman and not otherwise; and he is to be wholly free to do whatever he thinks good for a king's subject to do, without trouble, let, or impeachment. And the said John Fortescue is to be commanded, and was so commanded, to perpetual silence in respect to any further ... vexation of the said Richard in any way and at any time to come for the cause alleged above....

(English) Leadam and Baldwin, Select Cases before the Council, pp. 117 f.


[1] The license to cross the sea required of ordinary travellers.

[2] Such persons, as distinguished from law-abiding subjects of the king, had been excluded from England by act of parliament.

[3] A portable breviary.

[4] Cf. no. 66D.

[5] Having to do with prises unjustly taken from Prussian merchants — as appears from subsequent minutes.

[6] Submitted on this date to the king and his council. Only a fragment remains of the itemized statement of receipts.

[7] See above, p. 171, n. 8.

[8] The prior was summoned to appear before the council and to bring with him the articles in question. He did so through an attorney. The articles were delivered to Ralph in return for his copy of the indenture.

[9] Henry V's regnal year ended on March 20, the day of his father's death.

[10] This agreement was reached after the defendant, a tenant of the duke of Bedford, had promised not to allege the king's special protection or to make any other "frivolous or exorbitant" claim by which the case should be excluded from the ordinary courts.

[11] Cf. no. 66D. This act, at least in theory, marked the resumption of personal government by the king; see Baldwin, The King's Council, pp. 184 f.

[12] Cf. no. 53.

[13] Cf. no. 67B, last paragraph.

[14] The case had been argued at length in the Star Chamber on the previous. November 21.


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